Responding to recent concerns about the reliability of the published literature in psychology and other disciplines, we formed the X-Phi Replicability Project to estimate the reproducibility of experimental philosophy. Drawing on a representative sample of 40 x-phi studies published between 2003 and 2015, we enlisted 20 research teams across 8 countries to conduct a high-quality replication of each study in order to compare the results to the original published findings. We found that x-phi studies – as represented in our sample (...) – successfully replicated about 70% of the time. We discuss possible reasons for this relatively high replication rate in the field of experimental philosophy and offer suggestions for best research practices going forward. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of philosophers have conducted empirical studies that survey people's intuitions about various subject matters in philosophy. Some have found that intuitions vary accordingly to seemingly irrelevant facts: facts about who is considering the hypothetical case, the presence or absence of certain kinds of content, or the context in which the hypothetical case is being considered. Our research applies this experimental philosophical methodology to Judith Jarvis Thomson's famous Loop Case, which she used to call into question (...) the validity of the intuitively plausible Doctrine of Double Effect. We found that intuitions about the Loop Case vary according to the context in which the case is considered. We contend that this undermines the supposed evidential status of intuitions about the Loop Case. We conclude by considering the implications of our findings for philosophers who rely on the Loop Case to make philosophical arguments and for philosophers who use intuitions in general. (shrink)
The problem of imaginative resistance holds interest for aestheticians, literary theorists, ethicists, philosophers of mind, and epistemologists. We present a somewhat opinionated overview of the philosophical discussion to date. We begin by introducing the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. We then review existing responses to the problem, giving special attention to recent research directions. Finally, we consider the philosophical significance that imaginative resistance has—or, at least, is alleged to have—for issues in moral psychology, theories of cognitive architecture, and modal epistemology.
The goal of this short paper is to show that esthetic adjectives—exemplified by “beautiful” and “elegant”—do not pattern stably on a range of linguistic diagnostics that have been used to taxonomize the gradability properties of adjectives. We argue that a plausible explanation for this puzzling data involves distinguishing two properties of gradable adjectives that have been frequently conflated: whether an adjective’s applicability is sensitive to a comparison class, and whether an adjective’s applicability is context-dependent.
To imagine is to form a mental representation that does not aim at things as they actually, presently, and subjectively are. One can use imagination to represent possibilities other than the actual, to represent times other than the present, and to represent perspectives other than one’s own. Unlike perceiving and believing, imagining something does not require one to consider that something to be the case. Unlike desiring or anticipating, imagining something does not require one to wish or expect that something (...) to be the case. // -/- Imagination is involved in a wide variety of human activities, and has been explored from a wide range of philosophical perspectives. Philosophers of mind have examined imagination’s role in mindreading and in pretense. Philosophical aestheticians have examined imagination’s role in creating and in engaging with different types of artworks. Epistemologists have examined imagination’s role in theoretical thought experiments and in practical decision-making. Philosophers of language have examined imagination’s role in irony and metaphor. // -/- Because of the breadth of the topic, this entry focuses exclusively on contemporary discussions of imagination in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition. (shrink)
One aim of this essay is to contribute to understanding aesthetic communication—the process by which agents aim to convey thoughts and transmit knowledge about aesthetic matters to others. Our focus will be on the use of aesthetic adjectives in aesthetic communication. Although theorists working on the semantics of adjectives have developed sophisticated theories about gradable adjectives, they have tended to avoid studying aesthetic adjectives—the class of adjectives that play a central role in expressing aesthetic evaluations. And despite the wealth of (...) attention paid to aesthetic adjectives by philosophical aestheticians, they have paid little attention to contemporary linguistic theories of adjectives. We take our work to be a first step in remedying these lacunae. In this paper, we present four experiments that examine one aspect of how aesthetic adjectives ordinarily function: the context-sensitivity of their application standards. Our results present a prima facie empirical challenge to a common distinction between relative and absolute gradable adjectives because aesthetic adjectives are found to behave differently from both. Our results thus also constitute a prima facie vindication of some philosophical aestheticians’ contention that aesthetic adjectives constitute a particularly interesting segment of natural language, even if the boundaries of this segment might turn out to be different from what they had in mind. (shrink)
We refine a line of feminist criticism of pornography that focuses on pornographic works' pernicious effects. A.W. Eaton argues that inegalitarian pornography should be criticized because it is responsible for its consumers’ adoption of inegalitarian attitudes toward sex in the same way that other fictions are responsible for changes in their consumers’ attitudes. We argue that her argument can be improved with the recognition that different fictions can have different modes of persuasion. This is true of film and television: a (...) satirical movie such as Dr. Strangelove does not morally educate in the same way as a realistic series such as The Wire. We argue that this is also true of pornography: inegalitarian depictions of sex are not invariably responsible for consumers' adoption of inegalitarian attitudes toward sex in reality. Given that pornographic works of different genres may harm in different ways, different feminist criticisms are appropriate for different genres of pornography. (shrink)
Our goal in this paper is to articulate a novel account of the ordinary concept ART. At the core of our account is the idea that a puzzle surrounding our thought and talk about art is best understood as just one instance of a far broader phenomenon. In particular, we claim that one can make progress on this puzzle by drawing on research from cognitive science on dual character concepts. Thus, we suggest that the very same sort of phenomenon that (...) is associated with ART can also be found in a broad class of other dual character concepts, including SCIENTIST, CHRISTIAN, GANGSTER, and many others. Instead of focusing narrowly on the case of ART, we try to offer a more general account of these concepts and the puzzles to which they give rise. Then, drawing on the general theory, we introduce a series of hypotheses about art concepts, and put those hypotheses to the test in three experimental studies. (shrink)
This chapter explores the interaction between the moral value and aesthetic value of food, in part by connecting it to existing discussions of the interaction between moral and aesthetic values of art. Along the way, this chapter considers food as art, the aesthetic value of food, and the role of expertise in uncovering aesthetic value. Ultimately this chapter argues against both food autonomism (the view that food's moral value is unconnected to its aesthetic value) and Carolyn Korsmeyer's food moralism (the (...) view that moral flaws can only make food aesthetically worse). Instead, it argues for the position of food immoralism: sometimes a moral flaw can make an item of food aesthetically better. This chapter concludes by drawing out broader implications of this position for discussions on the ethics of food and discussions on the interaction between the moral and aesthetic values of art. (shrink)
Imaginative resistance refers to a phenomenon in which people resist engaging in particular prompted imaginative activities. Philosophers have primarily theorized about this phenomenon from the armchair. In this paper, we demonstrate the utility of empirical methods for investigating imaginative resistance. We present two studies that help to establish the psychological reality of imaginative resistance, and to uncover one factor that is significant for explaining this phenomenon but low in psychological salience: genre. Furthermore, our studies have the methodological upshot of showing (...) how empirical tools can complement the predominant armchair approach to philosophical aesthetics. (shrink)
David Lewis argues that centered worlds give us a way to capture de se, or self-locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centered worlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. In this paper, I raise a problem for centered worlds and discuss the costs and benefits of different solutions. My investigation into the nature of centered worlds brings out potentially problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ (...) them. In addition, my investigation shows that the conception of centered worlds widely attributed to David Lewis is not only problematic, but in fact not his. (shrink)
What grounds human rights? How do we determine that something is a genuine human right? This chapter offers a new answer: human beings have human rights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. The fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life are certain goods, capacities, and options that human beings qua human beings need whatever else they qua individuals might need in order to pursue a characteristically good human life. This chapter explains how this Fundamental Conditions Approach is (...) better than James Griffin’s Agency Approach as well as Martha Nussbaum’s Central Capabilities Approach. It also shows how it can be compatible with the increasingly popular Political Conceptions of human rights defended by John Rawls, Charles Beitz, and Joseph Raz. (shrink)
In the past decade, experimental philosophy---the attempt at making progress on philosophical problems using empirical methods---has thrived in a wide range of domains. However, only in recent years has aesthetics succeeded in drawing the attention of experimental philosophers. The present paper constitutes the first survey of these works and of the nascent field of 'experimental philosophy of aesthetics'. We present both recent experimental works by philosophers on topics such as the ontology of aesthetics, aesthetic epistemology, aesthetic concepts, and imagination, as (...) well as research from other disciplines that not only are relevant to philosophy of aesthetics but also open new avenues of research for experimental philosophy of aesthetics. Overall, we conclude that the birth of an experimental philosophy of aesthetics is good news not only for aesthetics but also for experimental philosophy itself, as it contributes to broaden the scope of experimental philosophy. (shrink)
Imaginative resistance refers to a phenomenon in which people resist engaging in particular prompted imaginative activities. On one influential diagnosis of imaginative resistance, the systematic difficulties are due to these particular propositions’ discordance with real-world norms. This essay argues that this influential diagnosis is too simple. While imagination is indeed by default constrained by real-world norms during narrative engagement, it can be freed with the power of genre conventions and expectations.
Imaginative immersion refers to a phenomenon in which one loses oneself in make-believe. Susanna Schellenberg says that the best explanation of imaginative immersion involves a radical revision to cognitive architecture. Instead of there being an attitude of belief and a distinct attitude of imagination, there should only be one attitude that represents a continuum between belief and imagination. -/- We argue otherwise. Although imaginative immersion is a crucial data point for theorizing about the imagination, positing a continuum between belief and (...) imagination is neither necessary nor sufficient for explaining the phenomenon. In addition, arguing against Schellenberg’s account reveals important but underappreciated lessons for theorizing about the imagination and for interpreting boxological representations of the mind. (shrink)
Radical experimentalists argue that we should give up using intuitions as evidence in philosophy. In this paper, I first argue that the studies presented by the radical experimentalists in fact suggest that some intuitions are reliable. I next consider and reject a different way of handling the radical experimentalists' challenge, what I call the Argument from Robust Intuitions. I then propose a way of understanding why some intuitions can be unreliable and how intuitions can conflict, and I argue that on (...) this understanding, both moderate experimentalism and the standard philosophical practice of using intuitions as evidence can help resolve these conflicts. (shrink)
Anthropogenic climate change is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. There is ample evidence that climate change is likely to affect adversely many aspects of life for all people around the world, and that existing solutions such as geoengineering might be too risky and ordinary behavioural and market solutions might not be sufficient to mitigate climate change. In this paper, we consider a new kind of solution to climate change, what we call human engineering, which involves (...) biomedical modifications of humans so that they can mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. We argue that human engineering is potentially less risky than geoengineering and that it could help behavioural and market solutions succeed in mitigating climate change. We also consider some possible ethical concerns regarding human engineering such as its safety, the implications of human engineering for our children and society, and we argue that these concerns can be addressed. Our upshot is that human engineering deserves further consideration in the debate about climate change. (shrink)
When philosophers consider what moral status human beings have, they tend to find themselves either supporting the idea that not all human beings are rightholders or adopting what Peter Singer calls a 'speciesist' position, where speciesism is defined as morally favoring a particular species—in this case, human beings—over others without sufficient justification. In this paper, I develop what I call the 'genetic basis for moral agency' account of rightholding, and I propose that this account can allow all human beings to (...) be rightholders without being speciesist. While my aim is to set out this account clearly rather than to defend it, I explain how this account is different from a potentiality account and I argue that it is preferable to an actual moral agency account of human moral status. (shrink)
Mitochondrial replacement techniques, known in the popular media as 'three-parent' or 'three-person' IVFs, have the potential to enable women with mitochondrial diseases to have children who are genetically related to them but without such diseases. In the debate regarding whether MRTs should be made available, an issue that has garnered considerable attention is whether MRTs affect the characteristics of an existing individual or whether they result in the creation of a new individual, given that MRTs involve the genetic manipulation of (...) the germline. In other words, do MRTs affect the qualitative identity or the numerical identity of the resulting child? For instance, a group of panelists on behalf of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has claimed that MRTs affect only the qualitative identity of the resulting child, while the Working Group of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics has argued that MRTs would create a numerically distinct individual. In this article, I shall argue that MRTs do create a new and numerically distinct individual. Since my explanation is different from the NCOB's explanation, I shall also offer reasons why my explanation is preferable to the NCOB's explanation. (shrink)
There has been a long history of arguments over whether happiness is anything more than a particular set of psychological states. On one side, some philosophers have argued that there is not, endorsing a descriptive view of happiness. Affective scientists have also embraced this view and are reaching a near consensus on a definition of happiness as some combination of affect and life-satisfaction. On the other side, some philosophers have maintained an evaluative view of happiness, on which being happy involves (...) living a life that is normatively good. Within the context of this debate we consider how people ordinarily understand happiness, and provide evidence that the ordinary understanding of happiness reflects aspects of both evaluative and descriptive views. Similar to evaluative views, normative judgments have a substantive role in the ordinary understanding of happiness. Yet, similar to descriptive views, the ordinary understanding is focused on the person’s psychological states and not the overall life they actually lived. Combining these two aspects, we argue that the ordinary understanding of happiness suggests a novel view on which happiness consists in experiencing positive psychological states when one ought to. This view, if right, has implications for both philosophical and psychological research on happiness. (shrink)
The prospect of using memory modifying technologies raises interesting and important normative concerns. We first point out that those developing desirable memory modifying technologies should keep in mind certain technical and user-limitation issues. We next discuss certain normative issues that the use of these technologies can raise such as truthfulness, appropriate moral reaction, self-knowledge, agency, and moral obligations. Finally, we propose that as long as individuals using these technologies do not harm others and themselves in certain ways, and as long (...) as there is no prima facie duty to retain particular memories, it is up to individuals to determine the permissibility of particular uses of these technologies. (shrink)
Narrative representations can change our moral actions and thoughts, for better or for worse. In this article, I develop a theory of fictions' capacity for moral education and moral corruption that is fully sensitive to the diversity of fictions. Specifically, I argue that the way a fiction influences our moral actions and thoughts importantly depends on its genre. This theory promises new insights into practical ethical debates over pornography and media violence.
It has been widely reported that women are underrepresented in academic philosophy as faculty and students. This article investigates whether this representation may also occur in the domain of journal article publishing. Our study looked at whether women authors were underrepresented as authors in elite ethics journals — Ethics, Philosophy & Public Affairs, the Journal of Political Philosophy, and the Journal of Moral Philosophy — between 2004-2014, relative to the proportion of women employed in academic ethics (broadly construed). We found (...) that women are indeed underrepresented overall in prestigious ethics journal publishing. Though this is not our focus, we discuss possible causes for this finding, such as top ethics journals’ tendency not to publish much feminist philosophy; the impact of women’s lesser professional status or rank within philosophy on their prospects for, and success in, journal publishing; and the review process itself, which may disadvantage or discourage women authors — perhaps especially when their gender, rank, and affiliation are known to the editor or reviewer, or if their work is explicitly feminist. We discuss possible avenues for future research on the "woman problem" in philosophy, noting how our study relates to existing research on this issue. (shrink)
Issues of pretense and imagination are of central interest to philosophers, psychologists, and researchers in allied fields. In this entry, we provide a roadmap of some of the central themes around which discussion has been focused. We begin with an overview of pretense, imagination, and the relationship between them. We then shift our attention to the four specific topics where the disciplines' research programs have intersected or where additional interactions could prove mutually beneficial: the psychological underpinnings of performing pretense and (...) of recognizing pretense, the cognitive capacities involved in imaginative engagement with fictions, and the real-world impact of make-believe. In the final section, we discuss more briefly a number of other mental activities that arguably involve imagining, including counterfactual reasoning, delusions, and dreaming. (shrink)
Some philosophers have criticized experimental philosophy for being superfluous. Jackson implies that experimental philosophy studies are unnecessary. More recently, Dunaway, Edmunds, and Manley empirically demonstrate that experimental studies do not deliver surprising results, which is a pro tanto reason for foregoing conducting such studies. This paper gives theoretical and empirical considerations against the superfluity criticism. The questions concerning the surprisingness of experimental philosophy studies have not been properly disambiguated, and their metaphilosophical significance have not been properly assessed. Once the most (...) relevant question is identified, a re-analysis of Dunaway and colleagues’ data actually undermines the superfluity criticism. (shrink)
A number of international organizations have claimed that children have a right to be loved, but there is a worry that this claim may just be an empty rhetoric. In this paper, I seek to show that there could be such a right by providing a justification for this right in terms of human rights, by demonstrating that love can be an appropriate object of a duty, and by proposing that biological parents should normally be made the primary bearers of (...) this duty, while all other able persons in appropriate circumstances have the associate duties to help biological parents discharge their duties. I also consider some policy implications of this right. (shrink)
Many people believe in the intention principle, according to which an agent’s intention in performing an act can sometimes make an act that would otherwise have been permissible impermissible, other things being equal. Judith Jarvis Thomson, Frances Kamm and Thomas Scanlon have offered cases that seem to show that it can be permissible for an agent to act even when the agent has bad intentions. If valid, these cases would seem to cast doubt on the intention principle. In this paper, (...) I point out that these cases have confounding factors that have received little attention in the literature. I argue that these confounding factors undermine the putative force of these cases against the intention principle. Indeed, when cases without these confounding factors are considered, it becomes clear, so I argue, that intentions can be relevant for the permissibility of an act. (shrink)
Where is imagination in imaginative resistance? We seek to answer this question by connecting two ongoing lines of inquiry in different subfields of philosophy. In philosophy of mind, philosophers have been trying to understand imaginative attitudes’ place in cognitive architecture. In aesthetics, philosophers have been trying to understand the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. By connecting these two lines of inquiry, we hope to find mutual illumination of an attitude (or cluster of attitudes) and a phenomenon that have vexed philosophers. Our (...) strategy is to reorient the imaginative resistance literature from the perspective of cognitive architecture. Whereas existing taxonomies of positions in the imaginative resistance literature have focused on disagreements over the source and scope of the phenomenon, our taxonomy focuses on the psychological components necessary for explaining imaginative resistance. (shrink)
In the last fifteen years, there has been significant interest in studying the brain structures involved in moral judgments using novel techniques from neuroscience such as functional magnetic resonance imaging. Many people, including a number of philosophers, believe that results from neuroscience have the potential to settle seemingly intractable debates concerning the nature, practice, and reliability of moral judgments. This has led to a flurry of scientific and philosophical activities, resulting in the rapid growth of the new field of moral (...) neuroscience. There is now a vast array of ongoing scientific research devoted towards understanding the neural correlates of moral judgments, accompanied by a large philosophical literature aimed at interpreting and examining the methodology and the results of this research. This is the first volume to take stock of fifteen years of research of this fast-growing field of moral neuroscience and to recommend future directions for research. It features the most up-to-date research in this area, and it presents a wide variety of perspectives on this topic. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy offers an alternative mode of engagement for public philosophy, in which the public can play a participatory role. We organized two public events on the aesthetics of coffee that explored this alternative mode of engagement. The first event focuses on issues surrounding the communication of taste. The second event focuses on issues concerning ethical influences on taste. -/- In this paper, we report back on these two events which explored the possibility of doing experimental philosophical aesthetics as public (...) philosophy. We set the stage by considering the significance and current state of efforts in public philosophy, and by introducing the emerging sub-discipline of experimental philosophical aesthetics. Then, we discuss the research and outreach aspects of the two events on the aesthetics of coffee. Finally, we conclude by reflecting on the prospects and potential pitfalls of experimental philosophy as public philosophy. (shrink)
Despite the therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem (HES) cells, many people believe that HES cell research should be banned. The reason is that the present method of extracting HES cells involves the destruction of the embryo, which for many is the beginning of a person. This paper examines a number of compromise solutions such as parthenogenesis, the use of defective embryos, genetically creating a "pseudo embryo" that can never form a placenta, and determining embryo death, and argues that none (...) of these proposals are likely to satisfy embryoists, that is, those who regard the embryo as a person. This paper then proposes a method of extracting HES cells, what might be called the Blastocyst Transfer Method, that meets the ethical requirements of embryoists, and it considers some possible concerns regarding this method. It concludes by encouraging future HES cell research to investigate this method. (shrink)
Methodologically, philosophical aesthetics is undergoing an evolution that takes it closer to the sciences. Taking this methodological convergence as the starting point, I argue for a pragmatist and pluralist view of aesthetic explanations. To bring concreteness to discussion, I focus on vindicating genre explanations, which are explanations of aesthetic phenomena that centrally cite a work's genre classification. I show that theoretical resources that philosophers of science have developed with attention to actual scientific practice and the special sciences can be used (...) to make room for genre explanations in aesthetics. In turn, making room for genre explanations also demonstrates the plausibility of the pragmatist and pluralist view of aesthetic explanations. (shrink)
The introduction introduces the history of the concept of human rights and its philosophical genealogy. It raises questions of the nature of human rights, the grounds of human rights, difference between proposed and actual human rights, and scepticism surrounding the very idea of human rights. In the course of this discussion, it concludes that the diversity of positions on human rights is a sign of the intellectual, cultural, and political fertility of the notion of human rights. The chapter concludes with (...) an overview of the chapters present in the volume. (shrink)
Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...) the de se have primarily focused on de se thoughts of individuals. This paper looks at where these two lines of investigations intersect: collective de se thoughts, such as bands' and teams' beliefs and desires that are essentially about themselves. There is a surprising problem at this intersection: the most prominent framework for modeling de se thoughts, the framework of centered worlds, cannot model a special class of collective de se thoughts. A brief survey of this problem's solution space shows that collective de se thoughts pose a new challenge for modeling mental content. (shrink)
A number of prominent bioethicists such as Mike Parker, Anneke Lucassen, and Bartha Maria Knoppers have called for the adoption of a system in which by default, genetic information is shared among family members. In this paper, I suggest that a main reason given in support of this call to share genetic information among family members is the idea that genetic information is essentially familial in nature. Upon examining this ‘familial nature of genetics’ argument, I show that most genetic information (...) are only shared in a weaker way among family members and do not necessarily lead to the actual manifestation of particular diseases. The upshot is that the idea that genetic information is familial in nature does not provide a sufficient ground for why we should move towards a system in which by default, genetic information is shared among family members. (shrink)
Many international declarations state that human beings have a human right to health care. However, is there a human right to health care? What grounds this right, and who has the corresponding duties to promote this right? Elsewhere, I have argued that human beings have human rights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. Drawing on this fundamental conditions approach of human rights, I offer a novel way of grounding a human right to health care.
Participants in some clinical trials are at risk of being harmed and sometimes are seriously harmed as a result of not being provided with available, relevant risk information. We argue that this situation is unacceptable and that there is a moral duty to disclose all adverse clinical trial results to participants in clinical trials. This duty is grounded in the human right not to be placed at risk of harm without informed consent. We consider objections to disclosure grounded in considerations (...) of commercial interest, and we argue that these concerns are insufficient to override the moral duty to disclose adverse clinical trial results. However, we also develop a proposal that enables commercial interests to be protected, while promoting the duty to disclose adverse clinical trial results. (shrink)
In recent years, many non-consequentialists such as Frances Kamm and Thomas Scanlon have been puzzling over what has come to be known as the Number Problem, which is how to show that the greater number in a rescue situation should be saved without aggregating the claims of the many, a typical kind of consequentialist move that seems to violate the separateness of persons. In this article, I argue that these non-consequentialists may be making the task more difficult than necessary, because (...) allowing aggregation does not prevent one from being a non-consequentialist. I shall explain how a non-consequentialist can still respect the separateness of persons while allowing for aggregation. (shrink)
David Lewis argues that centered worlds give us a way to capture de se, or self‐locating, contents in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. In recent years, centered worlds have also gained other uses in areas ranging widely from metaphysics to ethics. This paper raises a problem for centered worlds and discusses the costs and benefits of different solutions. The present investigation into the nature of centered worlds helps to explicate potentially problematic implicit commitments of the theories that employ (...) them. In addition, this investigation reveals that the conception of centered worlds widely attributed to David Lewis is not only problematic, but in fact not his. (shrink)
Children sometimes lose themselves in make-believe games. Actors sometimes lose themselves in their roles. Readers sometimes lose themselves in their books. From people's introspective self-reports and phenomenological experiences, these immersive experiences appear to differ from ordinary experiences of simply playing a game, simply acting out a role, and simply reading a book. What explains the difference? My answer: attention. -/- [Unpublishable 2007-2017. This paper was referenced in Liao and Doggett (2014).].
What are human rights? According to one longstanding account, the Naturalistic Conception of human rights, human rights are those that we have simply in virtue of being human. In recent years, however, a new and purportedly alternative conception of human rights has become increasingly popular. This is the so-called Political Conception of human rights, the proponents of which include John Rawls, Charles Beitz, and Joseph Raz. In this paper we argue for three claims. First, we demonstrate that Naturalistic Conceptions of (...) human rights can accommodate two of the most salient concerns that proponents of the Political Conception have raised about them. Second, we argue that the theoretical distance between Naturalistic and Political Conceptions is not as great as it has been made out to be. Finally, we argue that a Political Conception of human rights, on its own, lacks the resources necessary to determine the substantive content of human rights. If we are right, not only should the Naturalistic Conception not be rejected, the Political Conception is in fact incomplete without the theoretical resources that a Naturalistic Conception characteristically provides. These three claims, in tandem, provide a fresh and largely conciliatory perspective on the ongoing debate between proponents of Political and Naturalistic Conceptions of human rights. (shrink)
The story of Ashley, a nine-year-old from Seattle, has caused a good deal of controversy since it appeared in the Los Angeles Times on January 3, 2007.1 Ashley was born with a condition called static encephalopathy, a severe brain impairment that leaves her unable to walk, talk, eat, sit up, or roll over. According to her doctors, Ashley has reached, and will remain at, the developmental level of a three-month-old.
What are you and I essentially? When do you and I come into and go out of existence? A common response is that we are essentially organisms, that is, we come into existence as organisms and go out of existence when we cease to be organisms. Jeff McMahan has put forward two arguments against the Organism View: the case of dicephalus and a special case of hemispheric commissurotomy. In this paper, I defend the Organism View against these two cases. Because (...) it is possible to devise more McMahanian-type cases, I also provide a more general solution to these kinds of cases. (shrink)
A major challenge to the Doctrine of Double Effect is the concern that an agent’s intention can be identified in such a fine-grained way as to eliminate an intention to harm from a putative example of an intended harm, and yet, the resulting case appears to be a case of impermissibility. This is the so-called “closeness problem.” Many people believe that one can address the closeness problem by adopting Warren Quinn’s version of the DDE, call it DDE*, which distinguishes between (...) harmful direct agency and harmful indirect agency. In this paper, I first argue that Quinn’s DDE* is just as vulnerable to the closeness problem as the DDE is. Second, some might think that what we should therefore do is give up on intentions altogether and move towards some kind of non-state-of-mind, victim-based deontology. I shall argue against this move and explain why intentions are indispensable to an adequate nonconsequentialist theory. Finally, I shall propose a new way of answering the closeness problem. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 652 - 668 Do biological parents have the right to parent their own biological children? It might seem obvious that the answer is yes, but the philosophical justification for this right is uncertain. In recent years, there has been a flurry of philosophical activity aimed at providing fresh justifications for this right. In this paper, I shall propose a new answer, namely, the right to parent one’s own biological children is a human right. (...) I call this the human rights account of parental rights and I shall explain how this account is better than these other alternatives. (shrink)
Can there be a duty to love someone? The kind of love we will consider is the kind of highly intense interaction that two human beings seek that involves not only strongly valuing another person for the person’s sake and wanting to promote the person’s well-being for the person’s sake, but also desiring to be physically and psychologically close to each other and desiring that the other person reciprocates our love. This kind of interaction features in romantic love, parental love, (...) love between friends, and the love of children for their parents. (shrink)
Judith Jarvis Thomson's Loop Case is particularly significant in normative ethics because it questions the validity of the intuitively plausible Doctrine of Double Effect, according to which there is a significant difference between harm that is intended and harm that is merely foreseen and not intended. Recently, Frances Kamm has argued that what she calls the Doctrine of Triple Effect, which draws a distinction between acting because-of and acting in-order-to, can account for our judgment about the Loop Case. In this (...) paper, I first argue that even if the distinction drawn by DTE can be sustained, it does not seem to apply to the Loop Case. Moreover, I question whether this distinction has any normative significance. The upshot is that I am skeptical that DTE can explain our judgment about the Loop Case. (shrink)
It may soon be possible to develop pills that allow parents to induce in themselves more loving behaviour, attitudes and emotions towards their children. In this paper, I consider whether pharmacologically induced parental love can satisfy reasonable conditions of authenticity; why anyone would be interested in taking such parental love pills at all, and whether inducing parental love pharmacologically promotes narcissism or results in self-instrumentalization. I also examine how the availability of such pills may affect the duty to love a (...) child. (shrink)